Belfast Telegraph

Councillors angry over prank calls in middle of the night

Frustrated: Sean Carr
Frustrated: Sean Carr
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A prankster has left Derry and Strabane councillors fuming and frustrated in a four-day barrage of crank calls.

Several councillors from across the political spectrum were called during the early hours of last Sunday morning.

These calls were followed by unsolicited deliveries of food and alcohol.

But in the early hours of yesterday morning, independent councillor Sean Carr was subjected to seven crank calls over an hour and a half from 3.30am.

"This is getting ridiculous and has long since passed the stage of someone who had one too many on a Saturday night thinking it would be funny to ring local councillors," he said.

"Last night, this man rang me seven times - the first call came just before 3.30am and the last was around 5am and I know I am not the only councillor he is contacting.

"I am an undertaker, so I don't have the option of turning my phone off when I go to bed because I often get calls from the hospital or a nursing home where someone has passed away.

"I am annoyed that for four nights now, we have been woken up in the middle of the night by this idiot.

"I haven't contacted the police because I was hoping whoever was doing this would catch themselves on and stop.

"But it looks like I am going to have to report this now." The prankster has also contacted SDLP councillor Jason Barr a number of times and has also sent deliveries to his home address.

He said: "Whoever this person is has called me six times - five times during the early hours of the mornings - but he also called me on Monday afternoon around 4pm.

"He chatted a lot of nonsense, including asking me if I liked food and drink.

"Half an hour later, a taxi pulled up at my house with a delivery of alcohol, which I had to explain to the driver I didn't order.

"This was followed by another alcohol delivery from a different taxi company and later again, another taxi company arrived with a food delivery.

"At the start, I thought this was someone messing about after a night in the pub, but it has gone on for too long and is beyond a joke. I reported this to the police and I was relieved to hear the police will be able to trace these calls, even if he has withheld the number, and will be able to find this person.

"We are public servants and our mobile numbers are available for the people we represent to contact us, which is fine, but the downside is, it does make us vulnerable to people like this."

DUP councillor Hilary McClintock said she and three other members of her party had also been on the receiving end of the crank caller.

She said: "This person really is a nuisance, who seems to have nothing better to do.

"There doesn't seem to be anything personal in this because the calls have been made to people from the DUP and the SDLP and Sean Carr, who is an independent, but that doesn't make it acceptable.

"I received one call in the early hours of Sunday morning, but others in my party have received several.

"The caller was not unpleasant or aggressive, but mumbled something to me about Sean Carr.

"I knew it wasn't Sean on the phone because I would have recognised his voice, but whoever this is needs to stop."

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: "Police received a report of harassment in the Strabane area on Tuesday, July 23.

"Enquiries into the matter are ongoing."

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